Nifty fifty and four other pieces of gear every aspiring portrait photographer should have
posted Monday, May 16, 2016 at 4:08 PM EST
For new portrait photographers, it can be tricky to determine what gear is "must-have" and what gear you can hold off on and purcahse later. To make wading through the portrait waters easier, Hanssie at SLR Lounge has made a list of five must-have items that every new portrait photographer ought to buy.
Let's suppose you are new to photography and just purchased a kit, be it a DSLR, mirrorless, or other system? One of the first things you should buy for portrait photography is the classic "nifty fifty" lens. Every major manufacturer offers a lens that is right around the 50mm equivalent focal length, and usually at a reasonable priced being that they're so common, so a nifty fifty is a sound place to start.
Nikon and Canon offer 50mm lenses in a variety of apertures with the f/1.8 aperture offering the most bang for your buck. You can buy a brand-new Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S Nikkor lens for just over $200 USD, for example. Hitting the used market will yield you an even better deal and some of the older lenses can produce excellent images.
Other popular portrait focal lengths include 85mm, 105mm, and 135mm but you can take great portraits with a wide variety of lenses. You can even go wide if you'd like, although be wary of unflattering distortion if you go ultra wide.
Next up is a reflector. If you don't want to go all-in on a massive lighting system, and honestly, if you're just starting out you probably shouldn't, a reflector is a must-have tool. Natural light produces beautiful results. In fact, a lot of time can be spent with artificial light trying to create a more natural result. You can't go wrong with a purpose-built folding reflector that you can easily stow in a small bag, but you can use a lot of different objects for fast reflection such as newspaper, a bright white sheet of paper, or even some aluminum foil glued to poster board.
For those times when a reflector just won't cut it, such as overcast days or night shooting, an off-camera flash will be really useful. Camera's built-in flashes aren't ideal for creating nice portraits, so getting a dedicated off-camera flash unit will take your lighting to the next level and allow you to get creative.
To see what else you need as a budding portrait photographer, check out Hanssie's full article here!
(Seen via SLR Lounge)